Friday, 17 November 2017


We were married 50 years ago today.  I came to 'do Europe' and stayed! 

We were married in Gairloch, Wester Ross in the north of Scotland where Iain's parents lived. Although Iain's  parents spent their working life in Glasgow they retired back to the highlands and settled in the place where Iain's mother, Barbara  MacLeod, nee MacKenzie was born and raised.  Iain's father, Donald MacLeod, was from Achiltibuie.

  Left to right: Iain's mother, his father and then my mother, Margaret Booth.

Iain's sister, Iseabail, and I leaving the house 'Conival' for the church.  We were married in the Church of Scotland which is located opposite the golf course in Gairloch.

 I was given away by Iain's uncle, Kennth, father of Eleanor with whom we are still in touch.

Iain's friend Tom Morrison attended the wedding along with 59 other MacLeod guests.  Tom and his wife Joan, also at the wedding, will be joining us next week for a celebratory dinner.

Left to right: Iain, me, our Best Man John MacLeod, Broadford in Skye and Iseabail.  They will be joining us next week for dinner too.

My mother and I

The ceilidh after the meal at the Drumchork Hotel, Aultbea which was run by Iain's mother's cousin Helen and her husband Johnnie MacLean.

 Celebratory toast.

Iain making Iseabail laugh at the meal.  Of note is the Mateus Rose wine we had at the meal ... all very 1960s!

Today, while in Waitrose buying a little something for our evening meal I actually found some Mateus Rose!   I just had to buy these small bottles ... a trip down memory lane! 

The wire birds are something I have had for years. I brought them out thinking that the day could not go by without some sort of statement....

However... when looking for the wedding photos above, mostly taken by John Scott* at our wedding using his ordinary 1960s camera, I came across the following:

It is a Bible that the minister who married us presented at the completion of the ceremony.

M-m-m-m ... just as well I opened it up!  Look at the date!


* John has been in touch today and sent his best wishes and some photos including the recent one of Gairloch above.  John absolutely saved the day for us with these coloured photos as the photographer obtained for the occasion did not produce the goods for whatever reason.  The black and white photo at the start is one that we took a couple of weeks later at a studio in Glasgow when Iain rushed out in his lunch hour and I took along my (borrowed!) bridal gown.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017


Sexual harassment has been in the news a lot.  It is usually women speaking but it must be said that it affects men as well. Just ask any Scotsman wearing a kilt!

Women of my generation all have stories.  This article saw me nodding my head in agreement all the way through ... right to the very end! 


Newspaper article by Suzanne Moore, The Guardian, October 22, 2017

I didn’t grow up in Hollywood. Far from it. But I did grow up a girl, and I remember. Because who can forget? We are in the park. Someone has “told” us about a funny man at the bus stop. We don’t know what this means really. We are 10. He comes over and starts chatting. He unzips his trousers and gets his penis out. We stare for what feels like a long time. Screaming, we run away. Next day he is outside our school and we are not sure who to tell because we think we shouldn’t have spoken to him.

I get a Saturday job in a supermarket. It’s great. I start off on fruit and vegetables, with the ambition of moving to cold meats. This means I have to go to the backroom to get sacks of potatoes. The owner of the supermarket is always in there in the gloom. He puts his hand up my skirt.

“Don’t go in there on your own,” say the other girls. I don’t want to lose my job so I just try to avoid him, but he catches me telling customers that there are no more potatoes.

A teacher at school praises me because I like poetry. He is wild and alternative. Sometimes we just roll dice to get marks, he says. He talks to me about painting. He asks if I will go camping with him for the weekend. Just me and him. He doesn’t believe in official school trips. I am 14 and a half and I excitedly tell my mother. She gets herself dolled up and goes into school, finds this teacher and shoves him up against the wall. “If you want to interfere with her,” she says, “you have to interfere with me first.” I am mortified. Interference is my mother’s word for sex.

At 17, I leave home and hitchhike everywhere. This is iffy and I know it. Conversations swerve uncomfortably. Sometimes they lock you in the car. In France, I make one lorry driver drop me and a friend off after he starts talking about porn. We jump out in the middle of nowhere. He starts wanking. “What shall we do?” says my friend, panicking. I have a brainwave. “Let’s just eat our sandwiches.” The man’s erection wilts despite his frantic efforts.

Such “luck” runs out soon after. I get raped. That happens. Anyway, I was taking a risk, wasn’t I? All that “on the road” stuff I was into? Well, it’s different for girls.

In another crappy shop where I am selling cheap diamond and sapphire rings to excitable girls and their disinterested boyfriends, the manager is a “groper”. We all hate him and sometimes he brings his wife in. We decide to tell her. Somehow, though, none of us dare.

The Yorkshire Ripper is in the news. It’s scary. A bloke exposes himself on the way back from the pub. “Come here and I will bite it off,” screams my mate. I envy her boldness.

In the basement flat I am living in, someone is pushing porn through the letterbox and watching us. The police say there is nothing they can do unless he is caught doing it. He breaks in and takes all our letters and photographs. Everyone says that we are lucky we weren’t there. We move to a towerblock. We come home one day to find “Prostitutes” spray-painted on the door.

As I become more politically active, I become aware that anarchists and communists are as likely to harass you as any other man. This is only really a small disappointment.

In the US, though, I meet another woman who fights back. She is a waitress in the club in New Orleans where I work. When some creep says something to her, she picks up the candle in a jar on the table and pours the hot wax over his head. She is immediately fired.

By now I am becoming an old hand at dealing with sexual harassment and I apply to college, a polytechnic, at the age of 24. All is going well when a member of staff decides to exploit his power over me. “The thing is,” he says, “I have a wife and a mistress but what I am really looking for is a girlfriend.” I never have another meeting with him.

At eight months pregnant, I find men are still whispering sexual threats in the street. By the time I have my eldest daughter in a pushchair I live in an area where there is a lot of prostitution. A man stops me with a tenner. “I don’t mind the child, love,” he says, gesturing at my toddler.

Actually, though, life is good. I work on a magazine where men think feminism is talking to you for hours about problems with their sperm count. I have a flat and a baby, and then I get a job on a newspaper. Now surely I am in the safety of a middle-class world where women are taken seriously. However, there is inevitably one guy who touches up women as they bend over the photocopier.

I start writing about some of the big sexual harassment cases, such as Anita Hill. It’s a concern. The editor calls us all together. “Dreadful business, this sexual harassment,” he says. “I am glad it doesn’t happen here.”

Tuesday, 31 October 2017


Where has the month gone?  It's Hallowe'en.  As I await the Little People coming to the door this e'en I am going to gather a collection of outstanding events from this month.

In readiness for the Trick or Treaters:

Hunka Munka (IKEA many years ago) on our front door ballustrate awaits the little visitors.

 I made chocolate cupcakes - there is no call for any other type - with 'cobweb' decoration.  I must remember not to let the chocolate icing harden before piping the white 'web'.
Ellie as Snow White and wearing her 'must have' tiara.  She made us laugh recently.  As we came in from the park behind our house she noticed the moon in the evening sky.  "It's broken!" she says.  Yes... it was on the wane with part of it missing!

This is Ishbel this morning. I had prepared the scone dough; she cut them and placed them on the baking sheet.  We have had a few baking session this month in readiness for visitors (Alastair and Co) coming at Christmastime.  We have plans to make a Yule Log.  Often we muck up the recipe but half the Learning to Bake exercise is about resurrecting 'near' disasters. We create a new dish and give it a fancy name.  (Ish loves doing that.  She is a great wordsmith; loves rhymes and puns.)

Fifty years ago Alice gave me a Phillips hand mixer as a wedding present. Like the man who had the 'same' axe all his life, i.e. with three new handles and 2 new heads, this one has now been replaced for the fourth time.  I think of Alice every time I pull it out to use.

I have a problem and if I don't get this sorted my cover is going to be blown. I discovered that good ol' Marks and Spencer sell frozen chocolate chip cookie dough.  It is much better than I make, is quick and easy and worth all £2.45 or whatever it cost.

It is no longer stocked!  E-a-ghghgh!  The photo above is me trying to replicate what they do, namely, make the dough and chop or cut it in slices for freezing.  It really has not been a success.  No taste and runs all over the cookie sheet.

Alastair had his 41st birthday this month.  He wanted a Porche.  Uh???!!!  This is it: a Lego set which came in 4 boxes and a manual an inch think!

Iain and I spent last weekend at Crieff Hydro. The event was a celebration of Canada's 150 centennary with the Canadian Ladies Club.  We had a really nice time.  This big hotel in Perthshire would not normally be my first choice but we had a lovely 'Executive Suite' where we gathered for pre-dinner drinks and got to meet some of the husbands who came along with their wives.

Canadian flages on the dinner table.  The women are mostly like myself, i.e. married Scots and now live here.  A few are Scottish born but were taken to live in Canada as a small child, have Canadian citizenship but have now returned to live in Scotland either on their own or have married and settled back in Scotland.
Iain has been busy writing a paper about engineering but it is more about how to tackle problem solving, i.e. using engineer's way of thinking to solve complex problems. 

This is a silhouette of him ... my take on 'The Thinker'.


Sunday, 22 October 2017


While in Salmon Arm Don and I visited Mary in her new home.  The 3 of us joined Pat for lunch where we chatted and Don bumped into folk from town that he knew.  Here he is in the entrance foyer.

Don drove me in his white half ton truck to visit the family grave site out at Mt Ida Cemetery on the west side of Salmon Arm, B.C.

The plot is on the western end of the cemetery not far from the car park.  Some years ago on this blog I have described it ... more when I find it.*

This is the plot.  There are various family members in it some of whose headstones I show below.

Our parents: Margaret and Allen Booth

My paternal grandfather, John Cousins Booth of Downiehills, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.  He married Gladys Bessie James who was from Corbridge, Northumberland.

My paternal grandmother's mother Elisabeth O Jameson, i.e. mother of Gladys Bessie Jameson.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

* So far I have only found  this:  END OF THE APPLE BOXES

and this is the blog reference;postID=6996515487181265890;onPublishedMenu=template;onClosedMenu=template;postNum=3;src=postname

Saturday, 21 October 2017


Out of our class of 23 who graduated from UBC School of Nursing, Vancouver, B.C., Canada in 1967 there were 17 of us who gathered at Harrison Lakes Hot Spring for a 50th reunion. 

After 50 years I wish to state we are all wearing very well!  Group photo is on Facebook  here:

If that doesn't work go on [not .uk] and search   'UBC nursing 67'

Our group would make a very interesting study: all were born in 1943 or 1944 and finished high school in or around 1962 at the age of 18 years.  Most of us grew up in British Columbia and therefore we were part of basically an immigrant culture, i.e. everyone came from somewhere else.
This had implications for education, particularly of women. Parents, schools strongly encouraged 'education'.  The word 'drop out', common in my youth but not known in the UK, meant that the default position for education was IN, i.e. you stayed and finished Grade 12.  And, indeed, looking back, if anyone at school 'dropped out' it was something really serious like the girl got pregnant.

And that brings me to another observation.  It was so interesting to hear everyone's stories about their life, i.e. being a teenager in the late 50s and early 60s with all the social sanctions of Victorian or Edwardian society that operated at that time especially for girls!  For example, as one person pointed out one got married in order to have sexual relations with one's boyfriend.  Quite true.

Then in the early 60s when we were turning 20 oral contraception was available.  'The pill' changed everything for women.  We were the generation that were on the cusp of the end of the old social mores and the beginning of the new liberating ones.

So 3 days of chat with a great group of women who, 50 years ago, spent a lot of time together in a very tough course was very uplifting.  It validated some of my experiences e.g. I thought some of the lecturers were very unfair in handling some of their situations... I wasn't the only one as it turns out!

Also pooling memories of events proved illuminating: things I do not recall were vivid for others perhaps because they were more directly affected ... and vice-versa.

For example: Thursdays had an extended lunch hour. We joined with the engineers (as we were in the same faculty, i.e. Faculty of Applied Science) for their annual football game.  The idea was to grab the ball, stuff it up your jumper and run with it.  This photo is of Alice in the foreground.

Other memories: I recall having to hold a patient while Electroconvulsive Therapy was being applied; one of the lecturers was married and carried on lecturing while expecting her first baby - unheard of both counts!... I remember living in the Nurses Residence at St Paul's and not getting a message that a VOC fellow came and called for me on his scooter.  I was furious about this and not long afterward I moved out to live with Alice and Jean on 4th Avenue. And the rest is history!

The view of Vancouver Harbour from the house where we 3 girls lived on 4th Avenue (Point Grey near the university).
 UBC Blazer badge

Wednesday, 18 October 2017


Mary and Pat took me out to Peterson's orchard where we spent an hour buying some apples and reminiscing about the days when we had a similar orchard.

These photos say it all: our back yard had the same stack of Mac apples piled up in exactly the same apple boxes.

In the shed some of the the box end brand labels were arranged on the wall.

And, of course, the ladders.  My father was very tidy in the yard: "a place for everything and everything in its place".  Large ladders stacked together; medium ladders next them; short step ladders last in the line. I recall that picking bags were hung up high from hooks. Buckets?  Used but were for the cherries.

 * * * * * * *

Mary's new residence is in Andover Seniors Residence on Lakeshore Road.  Having booked myself into an AirBnB next to the hospital I simply went down to the CPR railway crossing and walked the lakeshore trail along to her place.  

As well as finding the excellent AirBnB I discovered that there is now a bus service which does several circular routes in and around town.

* * * * * * *

Mary and her friend Mary M's thrown pots!

Andover Seniors Residence - very nice!  It's large and spacious and very new.  Mary has a small garden area adjacent to the kitchen in her little apartment.